Clinton: Has Benghazi damaged her 2016 chances?

The departing secretary of state appeared before a Senate committee looking into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate.

One word sums up Hillary Clinton’s performance before Congress last week—presidential, said David Rothkopf in Appearing before a Senate committee looking into the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Ben-ghazi, Libya, the departing secretary of state “commanded the stage and deftly repulsed effort after effort by Republican partisans” to use her as a punching bag. She tore into Sen. Ron Johnson, who tried to push the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration wanted the public to view the deadly raid as a protest gone wrong, rather than a planned act of terrorism. “What difference at this point does it make?” Clinton shouted, pounding the table with her fist. “We had four dead Americans.” She accepted responsibility for the compound’s poor security, and said she has spent her final months at State making sure Benghazi “doesn’t happen again.” If Clinton does decide to enter the 2016 race, her courage in facing down her Republican inquisitors will only boost her chances, said Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune. “She stands tall when her critics look so small.”

Quit fawning, said Jonah Goldberg in If you listened to what she said, it’s clear that “Clinton lied and is still lying.” She denied, for example, ever claiming herself that the raid was sparked by a protest over a U.S.-made anti-Islam video. Yet when Clinton received the caskets of the Americans killed in Benghazi, she blamed their deaths on that “awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Like other members of the Obama administration, Clinton used the video to dodge responsibility for the failure to provide adequate security for our diplomats—a dodge she continued last week. Clinton’s performance was “worthy of an Oscar,” said Jeffrey Kuhner in The Washington Times. She choked back the tears when describing seeing the bodies of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff, then coldly blamed her subordinates for turning down Stevens’s multiple requests for more security. Her practiced lying brought to mind her steely-eyed dissembling during the many scandals of her husband’s administration, from Travelgate to the allegations that he sexually assaulted Paula Jones and two other women.

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